Samantha Ratcliffe knows rock and roll and how to find lost pets, both which have served her well throughout her career. Aptly dubbed the Queen of Rock n’ Roll Dogs, Sam knows a thing or two about finding lost dogs—and more importantly, reuniting them with their frantic dog parents. There are at least 12 ways she knows of to find a lost dog.
If you ever find yourself in the situation of having a lost dog, here are Sam’s top rockin’ tips for reuniting Rover with you:
Create a Facebook page for your dog if you don’t already have one. This gives a central location for people to communicate with you and with the people trying to help you. Post regularly so that your dog’s photograph can be seen by as many people as possible. Use the tagging option and tag as many people as you can in your dog’s photograph. REMEMBER to make each post public so that it can be shared beyond your friends and family.
Twitter, Google +, and Instagram
Deploy your dog’s photograph to every social media platform that is available to you. Recruit your friends to further spread your dog’s information. Popular platforms are Twitter, Google +, and Instagram. Include hashtags to have a common thread running though all of your communications. For example, #lostdog #vegas #urgent #call2action
Post your lost dog’s information continually on the lost and found sections of Craigslist. Craigslist is still that place where people will post lost and found pets so make a post and check it hourly. Don’t forget to check the free to a good home and sale sections too. There are people who will give your dog away to a good home for a rehoming fee and sell your pet if found.
Streamline Your Social Media Outreach
To free up your time to field phone calls, answer questions, and follow up on tips use an app where you can pre-schedule all posts and tweets that need to go out on a regular basis. I recommend Hootsuite or IFTTT.
You should have a current, clear front facing photograph of your dog at all times. This photograph needs to include you and your dog’s information. I’m finding Pose A Pet to be a fantastic app for lost pets and rescue pets. What’s great about the app is that it makes a squeaky toy sound before you snap a photo. This makes your dog look directly into the camera. Picture perfect every time. There is an option to create a rescue flyer. Although this is geared towards rescue animals it works perfectly for a lost dog. Opt to create the flyer and add your contact info and a description of your dog.
PiP Facial Recognition App
The PiP app for iPhone and Android uses facial recognition technology to re-unite lost pets with their owners. Should your pet ever become lost, activating the Amber Alert System will ensure your furry friend quickly finds their way home.
Search Online Within Social Media Platforms
Search in Facebook and Twitter as you would a regular search engine to find lost and found pets pages/accounts, rescues, and shelters. Contact these pages and profiles to share your dog’s photograph.
Conduct a simple search like Las Vegas lost and found pets and you’ll be surprised how many sites pop up where you can post your dog’s information.
Local Pet Resources
Pay a visit to your local pet magazine’s website. They’re usually stacked with a comprehensive list of vets, groomers, shelters etc. making it easy to contact as many of these places as possible.
Animal control websites have a place to upload lost and found pet information. Should your dog arrive at your local shelter they will cross reference any uploaded information about a lost pet making the return of your dog easier.
Give your dog’s information to your local park keeper where you walk your dog. The park keeper will know if someone has mentioned finding a dog or having lost a dog.
Print flyers and place them in the following places: Your front garden, community gate, dog park bulletin board, window of your vehicle, groomers, coffee shops, gas station, grocery store, veterinarian, pet sitter, pet store, and post office. Recently I tested out the Walgreen’s printing app and found it to be an absolute time saver. The app locates your nearest Walgreens, then you select your photo for printing, state the copies you need and hit send. An email is sent to inform you when your photographs are ready. https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/walgreens/id335364882?mt=8
Preventing a Dog From Getting Lost
According to Sam, as simple as these action items are they are crucial to preventing your dog from going missing and increasing your chances of a reunion. The minute your dog becomes part of your family you should get a tag made, create a Facebook page for your dog, place a chip in your dog, take a photo and use an app to type your pet’s info directly on it. Secure your home and garden making escape a lot more difficult. Use a seatbelt for your dog in case of an accident. Many pets are thrown from vehicles and run away. Invest a small amount of money in the PiP facial recognition app and just as you would change the batteries in your smoke alarms once a year make sure you update your dog’s information yearly from the initial set up. Use your dog’s birthday as a reminder date to do this…it will be the biggest gift you could ever give them.
Sam’s Recent Lost Dog Success
In her own words:
Recently my husband and I came across a dog running down a major street in over one hundred degree heat. Fortunately the little chap, Max, was an easy catch as he was tired and hot. Once we got him in the car we immediately snapped a photo using Pose A Pet. I opted to create a flyer within the app from the photo adding my contact info and a description of Max. We didn’t know he was called Max, as he did not have a collar or tag. So as we drove to PetSmart to check for a chip I started deploying his information over social media.
Within seconds his photo was being shared and people were being tagged. Once at PetSmart, he was scanned to find there was a chip but it had not been updated. It still had the vet’s info from when it was placed in Max. We found this vet to be in another state and gave them a call. So we were getting warmer to finding out who this adorable fluffy Pomeranian was. This is where we hit a dead end.
The vet had recently purged their chip records and could only confirm that the chip had indeed been inserted by them. There was no extending information to his ownership. Purging of records was not something we had heard of before which gives more importance to updating your dog’s chip information. We left the store still networking him and also fielding inquires from people who wanted to adopt him. It’s sweet that people wanted to do this but finding his owner was our immediate concern.
It was at this point that we drove to our local coffee shop to see if anyone recognized him. It made a lot of sense for people to see him and make a visual connection. We gave him a drink and left his information. Our next visit was the groomers and then we started driving up and down the neighborhoods where we had picked him up. We stopped to ask people if they recognized him. After driving this area we went to the nearest dog park and talked to the park keeper and people in the dog park.
So after a few hours we went back home and pampered Max so that he would feel secure while in our care and we continued the campaign to find his owners. Our campaign lasted two days. We saw a post on Craigslist about a dog lost in the exact area where we picked Max up. There was no photograph to cross reference but there was an email and telephone number. For almost a day we called and emailed and did not hear back. The good news is that my post on Facebook was ultimately shared by someone on a Vegas lost and found page. It was at this point that I received a lot of messages about a lady claiming Max to be her dog. We finally connected and we asked a lot of questions. Now as I mentioned earlier his chip was inserted at a vet in a different state.
This I knew would help determine the true owner as by this time I had a list of potential adopters wanting this handsome boy and needed to be one hundred percent sure. The questions we asked were, male or female, fixed or not, where was a chip inserted, what was his coloring, and we asked them to provide a recent photo. The good news is that Max was indeed the lady’s dog. As someone who works closely with animals in particular rescue animals I felt it was my absolute responsibility to not only educate on the ways of preventing their dog from going missing again but to also point out the laws that they were not currently adhering to. Max was not fixed, and he was not licensed.
So being the human Google search engine that I am when it comes to all things animals, I emailed them the information on the laws and how they would get their dog fixed and where they would get a licence. The family arrived from the next neighborhood to pick up Max who in all sincerity had had the experience of going to a spa for two days. We brushed him, played with him, cuddled him, gave him yummy food and treats, and a new collar and leash. That boy was so sweet and to see the kids in the family crying happy tears was a wonderful feeling.
About the Rock n’ Roll Dog Queen
Samantha Ratcliffe-D’Arrigo is British born Las Vegas based radio host, designer, and animal lifestyle expert. She created a clothing company for pets and their owners in 2005 called Vegas Rock Dog™. Vegas Rock Dog™ quickly expanded to include event production benefiting animal rescue. Notable events include Funny Bones All Star Comedy Jam, the original Yappy Hour©, Studio Fifty Paw©, and Barkingham Palace A Royal Dog Wedding.
Sam’s show, Vegas Rock Dog Radio, is focused on pets, people, and pop culture. She’s known as the Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll Dogs and broadcasts live from Las Vegas featuring cool guests, experts, and great advice all in one rocking hour. Sam can be seen as a regular guest on Fox 5 Vegas as their Pet Pal Pro and British Insider.
Vegas Rock Dog Radio broadcasts live every Saturday on VANR a Lotus Broadcasting station. The show is also part of Pet Life Radio the world’s largest pet radio network, that boasts shows by Victoria Stilwell, and Arden Moore. Episodes of Vegas Rock Dog Radio can be downloaded for free on VANR, iTunes, iHEARTRADIO, and Spreaker.
Here are Sam’s links to check out:
Did we miss any lost dog reunion resources? Let us know in the comments below.